Formula One video games

Formula One video games

Ever since Pole Position in 1983, Formula One has always plays a part of the racing genre in video games. Geoff Crammond's 1991 simulation "Grand Prix" played an integral role in moving Formula One games from arcade games to being full simulations of the sport.

Early roots and Arcade games

The roots of Formula One games can be traced back to the 1970s, with arcade games such as "Gran Trak 10" which depicted F1-like cars going on a race track.

However, the first successful Formula One game in arcade history was "Pole Position", by Namco. In Pole Position, the player has to complete a lap in a certain amount of time in order to qualify for a race at the Fuji racetrack. After qualifying, the player had to face other cars in a championship race. The game was very successful and it spawned an official sequel, "Pole Position II", and an unofficial one, "Final Lap". After the success of "Pole Position", many similar games appeared in arcades (and later ported to home computers) such as "TX-1".

During the late 1980s, arcades began being dropped in favour of home computer games. Late successful arcade games can be considered "Super Sprint", which uses the top view instead of the rear view of most games, and its sequel "Championship Sprint".

Dawn of the home computer era

The first true Formula One racing simulator was "Geoff Crammond's Formula One Grand Prix" ("F1GP"). Previously, most racing games representing Formula One, such as Accolade's Grand Prix Circuit and Electronic Arts' Ferrari Formula One, had been arcade-style games, but "F1GP" paid more attention to the physics of the cars, in addition to innovative graphics. The game, released in 1992, was based on the F1|1991 season. Over the years, the game had sequels "Grand Prix"s "2", "3," and "4" (based on F1|1994, F1|1998, with a F1|2000 update, and F1|2001 respectively).

The F1 official license was also held by Ubisoft and later transferred to Electronic Arts, which created seasonal simulations and also F1 Challenge 1999-2002.

A notable place on PC simulation games is held by Papyrus' "Grand Prix Legends", which depicted the 1967 Formula One season instead of the then-current season, like all other contemporaries. It recreates in a very accurate way the physics of the car and the feel of driving a real 1967 Formula One racer: for this, even after many years, it's still considered one of the most realistic games ever made. The game still has a vast popularity among video gamers, with many mods and original circuits being produced.

Console gaming

Beginning from the second part of the 80s more games were being created for personal computers, which could guarantee an easier and less expensive developing.Clarifyme Most of these games featured racetracks, cars and driver names similar to the real ones, but all modified slightly, since they didn't have official licenses from FIA. Examples of this are "Super Monaco GP" (and it's sequel "Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II", which had a license to display only Ayrton Senna's name) or "Nigel Mansell's World Championship", but many other less known games had similar features.

The first half of the 90s saw a growing in popularity of Formula One games, and many software houses began acquiring licences and display most real names and cars, for example "Formula One" by Domark, which featured most real tracks, drivers and teams.

The 3D graphics revolution started by "Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix" didn't go unnoticed by the console market: some software houses began developing games in this style like Sega with it's "Virtua Racing", and later Namco with "" (which featured futuristic, F1-like cars).

The first 3D game to feature a full license was "Formula 1", developed by Bizarre Creations and released on PlayStation, the first game of the successful Formula One series. Despite the game being a mostly arcade game rather than a simulation, it was very well received; later the series moved towards a more realistic race approach. Other Formula One games released around the same time include EA Sports F1 Series and Nintendo's "F-1 World Grand Prix" and "F-1 World Grand Prix II".

Modern PC simulators

As the trend towards open source software has increased, developers have realised that many video games users like to add their own features to the games, and many modern PC racing games have become easier to mod. Games such as "rFactor", although not primarily a Formula One game, have become somewhat of a development stage. "rFactor" players can download several mods for various F1 seasons, including "classic" seasons such as F1|1979 and F1|1955. The game's makers, Image Space Incorporated, have worked with the BMW Sauber F1 team to introduce a realistic version of both the F1.06 and F1.07.

Most recently, Sony had held an exclusive license to make Formula One games from 2003 until 2007. Before that it was held by Electronic Arts and before that it was Microprose and the "Grand Prix" series. It is now held by Codemasters, who will release their first game based around the 2009 Formula One season.


After Formula 1 was released on PlayStation (PS1), F1 games were then taken over by PlayStation 2 (PS2) & Xbox. The 1st being Formula One 2001 for the PS2, & PS1. In 2002, EA Sports released a video game called EA Sports F1 Series for PS2 & Xbox which runs from the 1999-2002 F1 season with all drivers from each season.

After Formula One 06 was released on PS2, Sony Computer Entertainment & Studio Liverpool released a new version for the PlayStation 3 in early 2007 called Formula One Championship Edition.

PC Mods

In most PC racing games like rFactor & Grand Prix 4, players can download Formula One car packs for the game which includes mods from the 2007 & 2008 seasons.

ee also

* List of Formula One video games
* Racing game
* Sim racing
* Comparison of racing simulators

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